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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Publisher

Sega

 

Developer

Sonic Team/Sega

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- Contains most of Sonic’s best games

- Sonic games are still fun even after all these years

- Graphics seem just a bit more polished than you may remember

 

 

- Where’s Sonic CD?

- Have to unlock some of the games instead of having instant access

- Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is really hard!

 

 

Classic: Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis)

Review: Super Mario Sunshine (GC)

Review: Ratchet & Clank (PS2)

 

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Sonic Mega Collection

Score: 8.2 / 10

 

There are two extremely famous console “mascots” that have appeared in the history of video games. These two mascots were popular game characters that became system-selling icons. Mario, of course, is the most famous console mascot, having helped identify and turn Nintendo into an industry powerhouse. But trailing right behind the Koopa-thumping plumber is none other than Sega’s Sonic. The blue hedgehog’s first title, Sonic the Hedgehog, put Sega fixedly on the video game map with its Sega Genesis, and for a short time near the end of the 16-bit era of gaming, helped push Sega past Nintendo as the top-selling home console.

 

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No doubt about it, the first Sonic the Hedgehog game made a big impact on the video game world. It’s still a classic today. Many like me have fond memories of the original Sonic game and its sequels. Sega gives gamers the chance to revisit their Sonic memories with Sonic Mega Collection on the GameCube, a collection (minus one) of the greatest Sonic games of the 16 and 32-bit era.

 

Sonic Mega Collection brings together seven of our Hedgehog hero’s best games (with a few hidden non-Sonic titles) on one CD, and thankfully the fun that was had playing a Sonic game remains firmly intact in this great collection. Here are the games you can play: Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, and 3; Sonic and Knuckles; Sonic 3D Blast; Sonic Spinball; and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. (One note on the Tetris-clone Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, which I never played when it first arrived: this game is hard! It’s probably the most challenging title included in the Mega Collection. I had all kinds of troubles getting past just even the second level enemy. )

 

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Also included are some bonuses, like the history of the Sonic franchise, game movies, and a look at covers of the Sonic line of comic books. Almost everything you could possibly want to know about Sonic can be found in this great collection.

 

A tribute to the early Sonic games is that they have aged remarkably well, in both their looks and their gameplay. The games in this GameCube reincarnation seem to have just a burst of extra visual shine. Having one of the better-looking 

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16-bit era platform games to work with didn’t hurt Sega make Sonic Mega Collection an overall excellent graphic presentation. The catchy game music that a lot of us know by heart is perfectly reproduced too, along with all the sound effects that are native to the Sonic realm.

 

Sega also did a great job mapping a control scheme onto the GameCube’s controller. Of course, there wasn’t much to control in Sonic games except jumping and speed dashing, so that made the task a lot easier. Going along with tight controls is the same fun gameplay that is a trademark of a Sonic game. Okay, so the story of a blue hedgehog that has to defeat an evil mad robot-o-doctor while collecting golden rings and rescuing trapped animals is a little bizarre, but the action of dashing at sonic-boom speed through large and loopy level after large and loopy level still remains an entertaining gaming romp.

 

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One disappointment for me was not having the Sonic CD. I’ve never played that game, and in light of the fact that it’s considered one of Sonic’s best adventures if not the best, I would have liked to see it included. Compounding that yearning even more is the inclusion of both the introduction and ending movies for Sonic CD. My guess is that there was only so much gaming that could be packed onto the Sonic Mega Collection CD and there just wasn’t room enough for it. But I would have gladly given up some of the other “bonus” titles and materials for a shot at playing Sonic CD.

 

My only other complaint is that some of the games are initially locked until you play enough to unlock them. I know Sega was probably trying to give gamers a “goal” to attain new games, but I can’t recollect any other similar collection-type games that make you unlock some of the included titles instead of having instant access to them right away.

 

Any fans of Sonic that own a GameCube will want to get a hold of Sonic Mega Collection. It’s the perfect melding of classic old-school gaming on the newest generation of video gaming consoles. If you were too young to remember the original Sonic games and have an appreciation of the early years of console gaming, this is the perfect opportunity to get an enjoyable introduction to the speedy blue hedgehog.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(March 22, 2003)

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